Mark Waugh took a break from his duties with the Australian cricket selectors panel to watch Dylan’s Rojo, trained by his wife Kim, break the track and race record in winning the Hollydene Estate Wines Muswellbrook Gold Cup (1500m) on Friday.
“This worked out perfectly because Kim is not well so I was able to come up and represent the stable,” Waugh said.
“She has a migraine and dose of flu so she stayed at home to watch it on television. I had no commitments today but I have fly to Melbourne tomorrow to watch the Shield match between Victoria and South Australia.
“That was a great win but he is a tough horse, he does not give in. When he came to us he was a bit of a ratbag but he is great now, really tough.”
Mitchell Bell let Dylan’s Rojo cross from his wide barrier to dictate terms and was never headed after that.
He dug deep in the straight to hold off a challenge from the heavily backed Alart (Josh Parr) to win by one and three quarters lengths in 1min 28.55secs, eclipsing the previous track record set by Another Charger two years ago.
Waugh said they would now look to the $85,000 Coffs Harbour Cup (1600m) on December 9.
“He gets in well on the weights in these country cups but when we take him to Sydney he gets big weights,” Waugh said.
“It looks a nice race for him and the obvious next step.”
Bell said the horse had travelled well and dug deep when he had to.
Alart was given every chance by Parr who settled him just off the pace, went to the middle of the track in the straight and made up ground but never looked likely to reel in the winner with Dylan’s Rojo winning by one and three quarter lengths.
Waugh also picked up a second with No Bad Blood in the Mt Arthur Coal Wayne Harris Showcase Handicap (1280m).
The decision by Muswellbrook Race Club to move cup day away from the Melbourne Cup proved a winner with the biggest cup day crowd for many years.
“We are delighted with the response and it gives us confidence that we can build on this in future years,” CEO, Duane Dowell, said.
Jockey Hugh Bowman is meanwhile confident that high-class sprinter Terravista is poised to return to the Group 1 form of last autumn when he competes in Saturday's $1 million Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot, Perth.
"We always knew he had the ability, that was never in question, it was just that he wasn't running through the lines like he had in the past," Bowman said. "But when he got to Flemington the other day he grabbed the bit and ran home like the Terravista of old."